I took down the half-assed string trellis I made for the blackberries since it was already starting to sag. I also wanted to attempt to redirect the insanely prolific snake gourd plants to grow and climb in the other direction so they wouldn't smother the berry plant. I put a large round tomato cage in there and sort of wove the squash vines through it and it worked somewhat. As you can see, they are doing almost too well:
In fact, they're growing so wonderfully that (provided they keep going strong into the fall), I'm thinking about lobbying next year to build a teepee or A-frame out of wood and planting snake gourds along the base to create a vine-covered hideout for Nico. I got the idea from this very neat guest post on frequent commenter Ruth's blog (hi, Ruth!).
I also added stakes to the sprawling grape tomato area and wrapped twine around the four stakes to make a cage of sorts. It does seem to have helped a lot with keeping the plant contained:
All our tomato plants are covered with oodles of green fruit. I suspect they're all going to ripen at once and we'll be up for days processing them all into sauce to freeze.
I'm pretty sure my poor blueberry bushes got sunburned, but so far they seem to be hanging in there.
My zucchini plants, however, are not doing well at all. I don't know if they finally gave up in the heat or if the nefarious squash cutworm got to them. I lost my last two years' zucchini plants to cutworm, but I was hoping to avoid that fate this year by planting in raised beds with new dirt. One of the plants seems to be regenerating with new growth so I haven't given up all hope, but they really do look pathetic:
At least the zucchini harvest that might turn out to be my last for the year was a whopper:
I see lots and lots of grating in my future.
The pepper plants continue to look great but produce little. I really suspect that I impeded productivity by crowding them in the bed. Every time I go out to water now I think about what I like about this year's garden and what I want to do differently next year. Right now, I'm thinking:
>> Add another long thin bed for tomatoes and grow only eight plants, four in each long center bed
>> Spread the peppers across the entire back bed (and maybe add a few more varieties)
>> Find a way to squeeze in another bed near the front by the blueberries for zucchini
>> Skip the snap peas - I'm the only one who ate any, and I didn't eat enough to justify the space they took up in the bed. Then I skipped ONE day of watering and all of my pea plants died, which I thought was a bit overdramatic.
>> Attempt to add onions, per MB's request (any advice on onion-growing is welcome!)
>> Grow multicolored carrots with Nico
Even with the changes I'd make, I think this is our most successful year of gardening yet. It's very encouraging!